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Table of Contents

A Day in the Life of a High-Tech Liberal Arts Student

Changing Perceptions

Take Us to Our Leaders

Learning Communities - A New Approach to Residential Life

Proposed Wellness Center To Address the Whole Person

Student Center Plans Continue to Evolve

Comings & Goings, Revisited

Staying the Course

Building Bridges: January 2001 Alumni Internship Placements

Alumni Accomplishments

Magazine Cover

A Day in the Life of a High-Tech Liberal Arts Student

By Kenneth Okoth '01

Today's students use technology in their daily lives more than ever before. Ken Okoth, an intern in the University communications office in Spring 2001 whose home is Nairobi, Kenya, takes us through a typical day

7:10 a.m.: [Loud shrill noise, absolutely annoying] That is the sound of my alarm clock ringing. It represents the first of many technological devices that will affect my day, both in and out of class.

7:45 a.m.: [It helps to be well informed. Who said students don't care about world affairs?] My television comes on automatically. I have it preprogrammed so I can catch some early-morning news. It also helps in case I forget to set the alarm clock.

8:15 a.m.: [Like many others students, I consider breakfast a luxury.] I am getting dressed for my first class. Off goes the television, as I pull on my sweatshirt and turn on the laptop computer on my desk. I log on to the campus network and begin to download my e-mail messages. I respond quickly to one from my family in Nairobi.

The other message is from Barnes and Noble. They send me regular updates about new offers and deals at their online bookstore. I bought a great travel guide from them last month. I am not interested in buying anything now, so I delete this message right away.

I log on to Instant Messenger. Some of my buddies are online, but none of them is active at this hour. Many are members of Plaisance, the First-Year Program College in which I am a writing mentor. We live in the same building, but they can ask me questions through Instant Messenger without coming directly to my room.

8:35 a.m.: I quickly surf my favorite Web sites and get details on the major news stories that I am interested in. I also get a quick update of the weather and stock prices. One of my friends actually invests online; I am just beginning to learn all about the market. Besides, I have no money to invest just yet.

9:00 a.m.: [The sound of an opening door from my Instant Messenger program.] I see that my friend "Tusker" has logged on to his Instant Messenger. "Tusker" graduated from St. Lawrence last summer and is now in medical school in Albany. He sends me a quick message to say hi. We chat briefly, and then log off. TTYL (Talk To You Later), we promise each other.

9:05 a.m.: [Doing last-minute preparation for class.] I open up an article for my journalism course and proofread it carefully. Last night I ran a grammar- and spell-check on my word processor before going to bed. The program kept suggesting that I change my sentences from the passive voice. I am happy with the article, and I submit it electronically into my class's common folder on the network teaching drive, also known as the T-Drive. I don't need to print out a hard copy because the teacher and my classmates will read it from the T-Drive and send me their suggestions for improvement by e-mail.

9:40 a.m.: [Inside an interactive technology classroom on the third floor of Richardson Hall.] We are about 15 students in Introduction to Journalism, sitting in a classroom filled with computers. We can all access the Internet and the University's computer network, where we can find our work in the folder on the T-Drive that I just sent my article to, and exchange comments about it, professor and students both. As a writing minor, I find this one of my best classes, because there is a lot of direct student feedback and lots of peer critiquing.

Today my article is one of those that come up for in-class review. All the students log on to their individual computers, open up a copy of my assignment and proceed to analyze it.

Meanwhile, the professor opens up my article on the SmartBoard, which works like a giant computer screen. Our professor asks the students for their comments and suggestions, which she puts up on the SmartBoard using features that combine the powers of a computer and the visibility of regular "old-fashioned" classroom blackboards.

We have time to analyze articles by three students. The teacher announces when the next assignment is due in the common class folder on the T-Drive, and reminds us that she has also placed a relevant set of handouts on the network T-Drive.

10:50 a.m.: [I stopped by the coffee machine in the ODY library on the way to my next class in Carnegie Hall. The machine is a piece of older technology that can be a godsend.] This is Professor Ruth Kreuzer's special topics course on the cultural and political history of St. Petersburg, Russia. She begins class with a video clip on the life of Dmitri Shostakovich, the 20th-century Russian composer of classical music.

We all have to make two PowerPoint presentations as part of this class, and today one student does a brief presentation about music during the era of Stalin. She refers to several sources in her presentation, including the Internet, which leads us into the next part of class.

Instead of a traditional term paper, this course requires us to complete a detailed Web project. As we spend the last 20 minutes of class doing individual research on the Internet, we listen to music by Shostakovich. I am researching the life and works of poet Anna Akhmatova. (Link:

2:30 p.m.: [Back in the Carnegie Language Center, doing my job as a teaching assistant for German 102.] We use various multimedia programs and facilities in the language classes and lab sessions. I am in charge of a lab session that has 10 students. We go over questions from last week's assignment, which was a series of repetition and listening exercises on a CD-ROM that accompanies the course textbook.

The main task of today's class is a dialogue exercise. In groups of twos and threes, the students play the roles of tourist and a local policeman, asking for and giving specific directions and general information about a mythical town. Using a digital video camera, we record all the students playing out their dialogue scenes in front of the group. After all groups have presented, the class views the footage, laughing and learning.

Next week we have an Internet research project too. Students will visit the Web sites of different cities, museums and sports clubs in Germany, and present their findings to the whole group. We might even join some German-speaking chat rooms or join in an international videoconference.

4:00 p.m.: [Rehearsal time with the Laurentian Singers.] We are learning El Fuego, a long and complex piece in Spanish. The director has placed audio files of the words and music for this piece on the network, so I can use it to practice and learn the piece when I am back in my room, or anywhere else on campus where I can use a computer and headphones.

8:00 p.m.: [Back in the library, working on one of the many public computer workstations.] I am writing a paper for my seminar in African studies on the life of Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Prize winner who read at St. Lawrence last year. Apart from the traditional sources, I gather more information from online databases and scholarly journals that we don't have in the library but are available electronically. One of the Web sites I use has transcripts of an interview and an audio file of a speech that Soyinka made recently.

9:30 p.m.: Back in my room. I watch Beauty and the Beast on the campus television network. The movie is in French, but has English subtitles. As I watch the movie, I also browse through the career planning Web site, where I can get the latest information about summer internships and job opportunities that I am interested in. I check my e-mail once again and read the Dean's Dailies, inspiring motivational thoughts that Dean Cissy Petty sends out to students, parents and alumni every school day.

11:35 p.m.: I log on to Instant Messenger. A lot of my friends are online, but I feel exhausted. I exchange quick greetings with a friend in Oregon. One of the first-year students asks me a question about dangling modifiers. It is not such an easy concept to deal with through Instant Messenger, so we set up an appointment for tomorrow afternoon. I log off.

12:05 a.m.: I would like to order a pizza roll, but I decide not to. I change into my pajamas, set my alarm clock for seven o'clock, jump into bed, and pull the blankets over me. For a brief moment, I think about how much my school days are dependent on technology. Then I fall asleep, knowing only so well that the shrill noise of my alarm clock will come much too fast for my liking, and another college day full of technology will be upon me again.